As millennials continue to take the U.S. workforce by storm, changing its face and essentially changing the way we work, engaging and retaining this employee group will require a targeted learning and development approach.
“The world has changed and the culture has changed and as such, the learning function has to change to reflect that,” said Alex Khurgin, director of learning innovation at Grovo.
According to “The Disappearing Act: Why Millennials Leave Companies — and How L&D Can Entice Them To Stay,” a January 2016 white paper published by Grovo, 60 percent of millennials exit their companies in less than three years, leaving their former colleagues with an increased workload and more stress because of it. Some 87 percent of companies report between $15,000 and $25,000 in costs for each millennial worker it has to replace.
At New York-based Grovo, where millennials account for a huge part of the company’s growth, the drivers that shape the tools it creates for clients also shape internal learning and development programming, Khurgin said. According to the aforementioned white paper, millennials are hankering for development — in addition to meaning, autonomy, efficiency and transparency in their employer — and learning is in a prime position to keep millennial talent from heading out the door.
Khurgin said millennials have different expectations when they enter the workforce and when it comes to learning. Millennials have grown up with the Internet, with contextualized, personalized and on-demand experiences from all kinds of technology — this has become their norm. “Any content that is presented otherwise — if there’s a disconnect there, millennials will tend to ignore or resent or both, whatever it is you’re presenting to them.
As a result, an internal management program the organization is developing includes behavioral goals with milestones, “aha moments”, microlearning, moments of motivation and KESHA, which is a method Grovo created to help workers hone in on knowledge, environment, skills, habits and attitudes that make up a given behavior.
The program isn’t simply a means to deploy information, Khurgin said. It includes a series of milestones that indicate employees are performing the behaviors that make the company function. Accomplishments such as “getting to know your people” and “giving direction,” for instance, are high-level behaviors made up of milestones like “scheduling one-on-ones with all your team members, or designing a tour of duty with one of your team members,” he said.
“Rather than having inert information that just transfer these ideas to people, we’re getting people to actively try to achieve milestones and then recognize them for that,” Khurgin said.
The white paper mentions several ways learning leaders can support the key values millennials identified as important including:
● Providing daily development opportunities
● Personalizing training
● Teaching the company’s mission and vision right out the gate.
● Helping employees learn by doing
● Teaching a wide variety of skills
● Putting learning in workflow
● Teaching in short bursts
● Facilitating brown bag discussions
● Making real-time announcements and updates.
Millennials need a sense of purpose at work, recognition and support to help them develop and grow among other things. That they’re requiring these things as part of their contract working at a company has broad implications.
“One of them is that previous generations are now getting treated with just as much respect as millennials are demanding,” Khurgin said. “And they’re getting the benefits of engaging content and development experiences that are really focused on what that person really cares about rather than what the business needs at the moment.”